Stephen King's The Shining
is a new adaptation from the author himself, made for American television, that bears very little resemblance to the 1980 Stanley Kubrick version
. Which is not surprising since Kubrick practically threw out most of King's novel and presented his own version of the story. Here King redresses the balance in a mini-series that follows his original almost to the letter, and manages to be effectively creepy despite the budget and censorship limitations of the TV format.
Stephen Weber takes over the role of Jack Torrance, the caretaker who slowly descends into madness in the haunted Overlook Hotel. His performance is as far from Jack Nicholson as you could get, with his insanity building slowly and menacingly rather than being virtually mad from the get-go. Rebecca de Mornay is superb as Wendy Torrance, struggling to hold her fragile family together amid the spooky goings on. Young Courtlan Mead plays Danny, whose unique gifts give the story its title, as one of those infuriating TV brats who overacts left right and centre. Fortunately, there are enough creepy moments and a fair few frights to hold the whole thing together: the woman in the bathtub scene being a stand out shocker. Sure, there is nothing quite like Nicholson's "Here's Johnny!" moment, but this is the story King wanted to tell and it still shines brighter than most of the other recent screen adaptations of his work.
On the DVD: Stephen King's The Shining is a nicely packaged set, with the film spread over two discs complete with a commentary featuring Stephen King himself, instantly making this set a must-have for his fans. There are also several deleted scenes which add some interest to parts of the movie. The transfer is good, considering its TV origins, and the crisp sound captures every spooky moment on this well-thought-out and presented set. --Jonathan Weir
Two-part dramatisation of Stephen King's study in isolation and madness. Recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance (Steven Weber) obtains a job as the caretaker at the deserted Overlook Hotel during the winter. He takes up residence with his wife, Wendy (Rebecca De Mornay) and son, Danny, who experiences clairvoyant forebodings. As the bleak isolation of the Overlook hotel begins to affect Jack's mind, Wendy begins to fear for her and Danny's lives.